The Bucks are a much better team when the backcourt is J.J. Redick paired with either Monta Ellis or Brandon Jennings. Redick and Ellis are +5.9 per 48 minutes, Redick and Jennings are -10.2 , and Jennings and Ellis are -3.2 on the season. One slashing guard, one pure shooter with a good hoops IQ to space the floor. The court balance is much better for the Bucks when Redick is on the floor than when it is Ellis and Jennings.
But Redick had played just 24 minutes in the first game of this series — he averaged 28 a game in the regular season after being traded to the Bucks. In the first half of Game 3 he got just more than 10-minutes and had 11-points on 4-of-6 shooting. It’s working, right? No, interim coach Jim Boylan (the guy who took over for Scott Skiles) played Redick less than seven minutes in the second half and he didn’t score. After the game, Boylan said the team needed to find a way to get Redick scoring more. If only there was a way to do that (granted, the Heat played better defense in the second half).
Understandably, Redick doesn’t sound happy. Or on the same page with Boylan. Or like a guy who wants to come back next year. Here it is, laid out by the Journal Sentinel.
Bucks coach Jim Boylan said in his pregame remarks that he told Redick to shoot with confidence but Redick disputed that.
“Jim never talked to me,” Redick said. “He didn’t say anything to me. I haven’t spoken to him during the playoffs. I did not get that message. I don’t need anybody telling me to be confident. I would have appreciated it.”
Let’s be clear here — it really doesn’t matter what Boylan does in this series, the Bucks are overmatched against the Heat. Playing Redick more might be the smart move but it isn’t winning the series for the Bucks, likely not even a game. Milwaukee’s only hope is to bring back Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar circa 1972 to suit up, and that seems highly unlikely.
What also matters is the long-term for the Bucks — Redick, Ellis and Jennings are all free agents this summer (Jennings is restricted, the Bucks can match any offer). In theory you can see a long-term plan — bring back Redick and one of the others and make that your starting backcourt. If you look at the numbers, Redick and Ellis made a strong pairing. Of course this is the Bucks, my guess is they make a big offer and match almost anything thrown at Jennings.
Reportedly they want to keep Redick, too. But he sounds like a guy likely ready to move on to a situation where he feels more comfortable. And the coach speaks to him. And you know he’s going to have plenty of offers on the table to choose from.